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Facebook, Google Battle To Bring Internet To Remote Locations 49

jfruh (300774) writes "Facebook and Google only make money from people when they can access the Internet, so it stands to reason that they're working to make sure everyone has access. While Google's Project Loon seeks to use balloon-borne equipment, Mark Zuckerberg envisions a system of drones and laser beams."
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Facebook, Google Battle To Bring Internet To Remote Locations

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  • No really, they are stupid ideas.

    I'd be a months pay that no one at Google has any intention of using this anywhere in the real world and that this is more just something to get news hits than anything anyone actually would be stupid enough to try.

    Drones and blimps are clearly much more cost effective and reliable than say ... a simple steel tower.

    • Re:Stupid (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:20AM (#46620939)
      I told my wife about the Google balloon idea and she said to me "What, you mean like in Gossip Girl?"

      Apparently there is a story line in Gossip Girl (circa 2008) where one of the main characters is convinced to invest in a project to bring internet to Africa via balloons. In the end it turns out he's a scam artist and it was all a hoax. But I guess someone at Google saw it and said "Now wait a minute..."
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Using balloons as quick deploy cell towers have been tested for about the last decade. I'm not sure if they've ever been deployed in a real disaster zone but it has been tested.

    • Re:Stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

      by swillden (191260) <> on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:37AM (#46621103) Homepage Journal

      I'd be a months pay that no one at Google has any intention of using this anywhere in the real world

      I'll take that bet. What proof of intention would you accept?

    • Agreed, these ideas are very stupid! Steel towers within line of sight of each other are much more practical.
      • Provided you can afford the land on which to install a steel tower. It might be logistically easier to gain rights to airspace for a tethered balloon than to land space.
  • by nitehawk214 (222219) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:20AM (#46620937)

    What I envision is a sci-fi battle where Google laser beams are attempting to shoot down Facebook drones.

  • by N!k0N (883435)
    Sounds a lot like Google TiSP [] (albeit, a few days early).
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They're just trolling. People living in these areas would not have the money to pay for such an access model. You can't finance something like this with banner- ads.

  • by netsavior (627338) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:44AM (#46621169)
    I think universal access to information is great, socially it is empowering and amazing... but FB and Google are not charities. As tfs says "Facebook and Google only make money from people when they can access the Internet"

    The internet is only available to the the richest 30% of the world.

    Advertisers currently access to the eyeballs of the top 30%

    Accessing the eyeballs of the very poor or extremely remote populations does not make sense from an advertising standpoint.
    • But it does make sense from an arms race standpoint: facebook and google probably have the same eyeballs right now. If facebook were to have more eyeballs than google, facebook's revenue would go up and googles down.

      It also makes sense for advertising for advertising. People are talking about it and not in a "Can you BELIEVE what facebook changed now? Fuck facebook! I'm going to quit it for the rest of the day!"
  • by Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:48AM (#46621205)

    Maybe first Facebook and Google can convince AT&T to actually install the equipment needed for me to get DSL, or convince the cable company to run the 0.4 miles of line down into my subdivision so that I can get real high speed Internet at my house.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:56AM (#46621275)

    Because what are laser beams without them?

    • by hodet (620484)

      That's the next wave for bringing internet to people on remote ocean islands. Patience patience.

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:57AM (#46621281)

    Mark Zuckerberg envisions a system of drones and laser beams.

    I think the USAF envisions the same thing.

  • Living in Africa (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 31, 2014 @10:06AM (#46621395)

    I live in Northern Mozambique in Africa. Our NGO pays $1000 (USD) per month for a 1Mb/s symmetrical dedicated line. It's delivered via fiber, even out here. The incumbent state-owned provider is over $2000/month for a 1Mb/s copper line. The only other option is VSAT but that's 10:1 contention or higher unless you want to pay $8k/month or more. VSAT with contention is unusable during the day.

    We don't need balloons, we just need fiber terminations with reasonable fees. If we could get 10Mb/s for $500 that would transform the country.

  • by hAckz0r (989977) on Monday March 31, 2014 @10:19AM (#46621587) Homepage
    They both have a common goal, to get a network to the masses. Just make nice, join forces, and get the job done. Enough with the story headlines and get on with it.
  • How about our connecting our rural areas? We got those areas electricity back under FDR, we can get them broadband now.
  • Is facebook bringing the internet, or just facebook to remote locations?
    • by tepples (727027)
      Facebook bringing Facebook could demonstrate enough of a market for me-too competitors to bring more of the Internet, just as dial-up ISPs competed with 1990s AOL's walled garden.
  • These two stories were reported over a year ago.

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